Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFErebidae Members:
Zale Members:
15 NC Records

Zale metatoides McDunnough, 1943 - Washed-out Zale

view caption
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: OphiusiniP3 Number: 931042.00 MONA Number: 8707.00
Comments: One of 39 species in this genus that occur north of Mexico, 23 of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Species Status: Belongs to a group of pine-feeding Zales, all of which possess a sharp, outward-pointing tooth on the antemedian line where the radial vein crosses.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: McDunnough (1943); Forbes (1954); Rings et al. (1992)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Wagner (2005); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Metatoides is similar in color but slightly darker than metata, confusa, and helata, all of which also have obscure medial lines. Helata can usually be distinguished by the brown shades that narrowly border its antemedian and postmedian lines; the brown shades in metatoides before the antemedial line extend all the way to the basal line. Metata and confusa are usually paler and less contrastingly patterned than either metatoides or helata. In many cases, dissection is needed to confirm the identities of these species.
Adult Structural Features: Both male and female genitalia are described and illustrated by McDunnough (1943); male structures are also included in a key and illustrated by Forbes (1954). Specimens of females can be brushed to expose the genital plate, which has large "ear-like" flanges that extend from the sides and the suture that runs down the center of the plate is relatively straight and axially oriented (McDunnough, 1943).
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae of metatoides are also similar to those of the other pine-feeding Zales, with identification generally requiring them to be reared to the adult stage (Wagner, et al., 2011).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs across the entire state with the possible exception of the barrier islands and high mountains
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Probably has a single spring adult flight, occurring in March, April, and May in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain and slightly later in the Mountains
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Records come from a fairly wide range of pine-containing habitats, including Maritime Evergreen Forests, riparian and lakeshore forests, and dry ridges.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding solely on hard pines (subgenus Pinus). Wagner (2005) specifically mentions Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida), Shortleaf Pine (P. echinata), and Scrub Pine (P. virginiana), all of which occur in areas where metatoides has been recorded in North Carolina. Loblolly Pine (P. taeda) also occurs at most, if not all, sites where this species has been recorded and seems another likely host. - View
Observation Methods: May come poorly to lights, which could explain the scarcity of records for what should be a fairly common species. Probably comes well to bait, like other members of this genus.
See also Habitat Account for General Dry-Xeric Pine Forests and Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S3S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Although seemingly an uncommon species in North Carolina, too little is known about the distribution and habitat affinities of metatoides to estimate its conservation needs.

 Photo Gallery for Zale metatoides - Washed-out Zale

Photos: 9

Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2023-07-26
Mecklenburg Co.
Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2023-07-26
Mecklenburg Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2015-06-12
Orange Co.
Comment: Confirmed by dissection; female; wingspan = 3.9 cm, forewing length = 2.0 cm
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2015-06-12
Orange Co.
Comment: Female; species confirmed by dissection; wingspan = 3.8 cm; forewing length = 1.9 cm
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2015-06-12
Orange Co.
Comment: Confirmed by dissection; female; wingspan = 3.9 cm, forewing length = 1.9 cm
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2014-04-22
Durham Co.
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2012-06-15
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: JBS on 1997-05-06
Stokes Co.
Comment: Determined by Tim McCabe. Wingspan = 3.7 cm.
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1992-05-31
Orange Co.
Comment: Male. Determined by Dale Schweitzer and also confirmed by dissection. Recorded in an area dominated by hardwoods but with large old Loblollies and Shortleaf Pines in the canopy; a large area of Scrub Pines was also located a short distance away.